Friday, December 1, 2017

Chasing Excellence

I think most of you know that I'm not a warm fuzzy person. I am a "tell it like it is" type. I can smell bullshit a mile away. Fake compliments? Faghedaboudid.

As you can imagine, I'm not really into self help books. There's nothing wrong with them. They just aren't my style.

I'll get back to that point.

It was time for me and Liz to talk about my race schedule for the year.  With my two A races set, I asked her what I should do between them.

She shot off her recommendations.

I put together a schedule.

Sent it back.

She said, "I'd add this......"

Ok. That's not what I expected but...

Back to the drawing board. I sent her my new race schedule.

With this race schedule there are so many things I want to accomplish. There are things in my way.  The big one is mental toughness.

I don't want you saying I'm a bad ass or anything of that because you're full of shit.

I went to Liz, and we talked about the issue(s) holding me back. She agreed that I lack mental strength.

Don't ask for feedback if you don't want to hear what you need to hear. 

I have no ego in this game. I ask for feedback because I want to be my best.

A few weeks back, I started I started working on it. During a long run, I came up with specific weaknesses. I came up with a plan to help me overcome them.

Then the universe sent me a message over Facebook.

I didn't even know the universe had an account, but there you go.

An article came up about Allie Kieffer. Do you know who she is? I didn't either. That's because all the excitement at the NYC marathon was about Shalane Flanigan. Allie was the 2nd American woman to cross the finish line with a PR of 26 minutes.

She was the one no one even saw coming.

Allie talked about a book she read called "Chasing Excellence".  Immediately, I had to look up the book. It's by Ben Bergeron; the Coach to 3 cross fit World Champions (women and men).

Like triathlon, crossfitters all come with their own strengths. Some are better at rope climbs. Some are better at running uphill carrying 120lbs of sand and on and on. They are all in the best shape of pretty much any other humans.

So what separates each of them at the Games (the CF world championship)? Mental toughness.

Self help book? Yes. But one that I could really grasp and relate to because of his no bullshit way. Yeah, there is a little bit of repetition throughout the book. In a way, I need that.

Right at the start, I realized that how I referred to myself, saw myself, defined myself was wrong. I had a self defeating mindset. (I have never put myself down or called myself dumbass or slow or old. But there are other ways, more subtle ways we can defeat ourselves without being terribly mean to ourselves).

I was hooked. Some chapters are things I already do. But other chapters are offering me ways to become mentally stronger. That's the point, right? If I was doing everything perfectly, I'd have already accomplished my goals.

Learning mental toughness is not easy. Learning to push past your preconceived limits is really really painful. But you know what's even more painful? Falling short of your goals.

This is truly my year of Chasing Excellence.